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Ramadan in the USA

A Multicultural Ramadan in the United States

Many of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will observe the month of Ramadan in different ways, blending their own cultural customs with Islamic traditions of prayer and fasting. In the United States alone, Muslims come from more than 80 countries and represent a mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, ideological, social and economic groups.

Although the principal teachings of Ramadan remain consistent, the fusion between religious tradition and diverse cultures embodies the interconnectivity and diffusion of a modern, globalized world.

It is estimated that there are between 2.5 million and 7 million Muslims in the United States. The exact number is difficult to determine because the U.S. government does not request religious information on census forms. Muslims in the United States are estimated to come from more than 80 countries.

During Eid al-Fitr, Malaysian Muslims often celebrate by dressing in traditional clothing and visiting the homes of friends and relatives. Eid al-Fitr is often celebrated in Malaysia with brightly colored decorations.

It is common for young girls and women in Bangladesh to decorate their hands with henna paste in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, as shown here. Henna is applied for luck, joy and beauty, and it is believed to have originated in India as a decoration for brides.

There are a projected 20 million Muslims living in Russia from diverse nationalities, including Dagasanis, Tartars and Chechens. In 2006, a record-high 18,000 Russian Muslims performed the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.